Chapter 3: Freeman: Win–Win and the Common Good
Edwin M. Hartman Among the terms that define the Ed Freeman tradition, some of the most significant, in addition to stakeholder, are win–win, conversation, pragmatist (sometimes modified by raving), separation thesis and values. A subtext in Freeman’s thought is baseball. I shall address all of these, with stakeholder at the center, but I shall suggest some Aristotelian views that Freeman should find congenial. At least they afford an opportunity to continue the conversation. Since there are many possible theories about stakeholders, I am content to make some general and useful observations about them. Freeman, Harrison and Wicks (2007) offer two such observations. I agree with both of them, under an interpretation that may involve a little friendly extrapolation. The first is that a certain kind of win–win situation is an essential aim of managing with stakeholders in mind. The second is that values are essential as well. Put the two together and we can say that one can and should create an ongoing win–win situation with stakeholders through conversations that get at common values. According to the standard view of things, a firm marshals its resources and, in particular, its managers and employees to defeat its competitors in the market and thus make profits for its stockholders. Where do stakeholders come in? Some critics have interpreted the stakeholder approach as claiming that an organization has an affirmative moral obligation to some or all stakeholders. Even the Milton Friedman (1970) view of corporate responsibility can accommodate the presence...
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